We are supporting UNICEF country offices in the Middle East and North Africa to produce consistent and relevant reports on out of school children at the primary and lower secondary level. The aim of the reports is to identify which and how many children are excluded from school or at risk of exclusion, what keeps them out of school, and what policies and strategies are needed to realize the right of all children to education. Despite impressive achievements in improving basic school enrolment rates over the past decade, 12.3 million children and young adolescents in Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen are excluded from formal education while six million more are at risk of dropping out in the near future. We analysed research from each of the countries to produce a regional study report as part of a global initiative on OOSC led by UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS). In addition to providing technical assistance to the teams conducting the country studies, we designed an innovative analytical framework incorporating UNICEF/UIC categories of exclusion and developed statistical profiles of OOSC based on the interpretation of household survey data. Profiles were linked to an analysis of the barriers and bottlenecks preventing children from accessing schooling and a review of the existing policies and strategies aimed at removing these. By building a comprehensive evidence base and identifying areas for reform, the study is supporting the development of targeted strategies for improving access to education.